Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Everything happens for a reason"

I heard someone say 'I think everything happens for a reason' recently.  Well, I would like to say that that idea is offensive nonsense (I'm offended, call the police!)  The idea that some cosmic force is hurling children to their deaths in the road or making you redundant so you can learn something new about your inner self - I think the word HALFWIT was invented for this sort of talk.  The universe would be a truly scary place if reason had anything at all to do with all the bad stuff that happens.  Randomness is scary but the idea that something was organising it all would be truly horrible!

Fish know better (cod philosophy, geddit?!)

...and if anyone posts any more of those damned homilies on Facebook (or anywhere I can see them!) I will kill them (oop, it's the police again!)

You know the sort of thing - generally starts with "A true friend..."  I suggest A true friend "will tell you to shut the fuck up when you're talking like a halfwit"

Incidentally I do like the word halfwit.  So far I'm not aware of anyone bleating on about how offensive it is.

I just spellchecked this post - Blogger spellcheck suggests that 'offensive' is wrong!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's all free I tell you...But only for me!

Vistaprint have been in touch again.  They like to stay in touch; in fact they contact me every day pretty much.  Everything is free at Vistaprint (and the sun always shines one presumes).  Then they send me exclusive offers and special deals (you won’t get them, no siree, they’re just for me – oh you have!?) – and they’re currently having a “Mega Sale”.  Thing is that everything is free – so how do you reduce your prices from free?  How do you improve on free from a customer perspective?! 

Here comes an analogy...Now I won’t need to tell you how annoying ‘booking fees’ are on concert tickets.  They tell you a ticket is, say, £20 but actually it costs £22.50 to get one – outrageous.  Now imagine that concerts are ‘free’ but you have no idea how much the ‘booking fee’ is until right at the end of the transaction.  Now imagine that you have to design your own concert tickets and upload logos and whatnot and basically do the artwork.  If you can be bothered you work through the process - to find that your free ticket costs about £22.50. 
That ladies and gentlemen is Vistaprint!  Oh, and they do free delivery on orders of over £10!  If only everything wasn’t free I might get my order up to a tenner.  I wonder when they tell you how much the free postage is going to cost you?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Travel chaos linked to Savile investigation

You may have noticed the phenomenon of the ‘news’ story written in advance.  Here’s an example from today...The Metro has a headline saying “Icy blast plunges Britain into travel chaos”.  Well not where I was - and for some reason I haven’t heard about this 'chaos'.  Tell me more Metro...”by mid afternoon 6cm of snow had fallen on Nottingham”.  6cm eh?  Well, clearly anyone 3 inches tall will have had a problem – presumably this is the most dramatic snowfall they could find? – not ‘up to 4mm which melted away almost instantly’ then?  However they also said “accumulations of up to 10cm were expected in many places” 10 feet?! Oh My God, no!  No,10cm.  Oh and a car skidded in Oxfordshire.  Clearly this piece was going in the paper anyway, even though the chaos failed to materialise in real life.  Someone I knew at school was killed on the road last week...didn’t make the Metro though...People more interested in minor inconvenience if weather related...

I know this is only the Metro but really...Any forecast of snow and the media re-run these tedious stories whatever the actual facts.

Oh, here’s another disingenuous story...Look North (the BBC ferflippsaxes...) reporting from outside St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds recently – the story was of an assault by Jimmy Savile.  The reporter had his most serious grave / ashen face on too of course.  The clear implication was that Savile had stooped so low as to molest a dying person – so was this the story?  Actually no, it involved a visitor, not a patient.  But in all the hundreds of Jimmy Savile stories why pick on this one?  Presumably because the titillation / ‘horror’ factor was higher.  More drama, more moral outrage – ‘look, we’ve got a story that’s even more terrible than other people’s’.  They didn’t want to let go of the implication and the hospice was forced to issue a statement (they’re against this sort of thing, should you be wondering). Why should the hospice be singled out and forced to comment as the venue for an alleged assault when it seems hundreds of places were the venue for assaults?
Similarly there are people who may well be unpleasant law breakers and guilty of sexual assault but are clearly not paedophiles.  But the papers are able to link them to ‘Savile investigation’ and so by implication they are. 

In short I don’t think the concepts of ‘news’ and ‘implication’ should be mixed.  If Jimmy Savile assaulted a dying person say so, if someone is proved to be a paedophile say so – but don’t  tell the story in such a way as to imply something that you clearly can’t back up with facts. And of course they never sucked up to sir Jimmy on Look North did they?
I know, I know, best not to go on the internet or watch the telly or read the papers.  Note to self.  Get a life instead...